Holiday Quantity Cooking

The holidays are a time for families and friends to gather---- lots of them! It may be the only time of the year you decide to do some serious holiday quantity cooking.

Feeding a large crowd takes planning and organization. It is wise to start as soon as possible and to create a TO-DO list in advance to keep you on track.

To get you started, here are guides for purchasing meats, side dishes and desserts

Meat and Poultry Entrées

The chart below describes quantities to purchase for your favorite holiday meats and poultry. Each quantity will serve up to 25 quests, assuming 3-4oz serving per person.

If you need to serve up to 50 guests, roughly double the number of pounds indicated. To serve up to 12 guests, roughly halve that amount.


If you look at various food quantity charts, you will see that the information often differs.

Also, when purchasing, you have to take into consideration, food shrinkage and the amount of inedible portions, such as fat, skin, seeds, peel etc. This makes it difficult to say precisely and exactly how much you will need.

Compare the information between charts and please decide with confidence, based on your culinary "know-how" and good judgment

You can do it!

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Meat and Poultry Food Quantities Chart

Meat and Poultry Amount Needed to serve 25
Whole turkey About 1 lb per person
Boneless ham 7-8 lb
Leg of lamb 12-14 lb
Brisket, fresh or corned 12 lb
Boneless beef roast 10 lb
Rib eye roast 8-10 lb
Boneless veal shank 10 lb
Whole chickens, 3-4 lbs each 1 chicken per 4 people
Whole duck 1/2 lb per person

Side Dishes

This chart describes quantities to purchase for popular side dishes. Each quantity will serve up to 25 guests, assuming 3-4oz serving per person.. If you need to serve up to 50 guests, roughly double the amounts. To serve up to 12 guests, roughly halve the amount.

A good way to figure out amounts to purchase is to look at the suggested serving size on the packages of the main ingredients and then do the math.

For example, if a box of dry pasta serves 4 when cooked, and you are serving 25 people, you will need 4-5 boxes of pasta. Amounts should be close but don't sweat it if they are not exact. Keep in mind light eaters AND heavy eaters and how much other food you are serving.

Food Quantities Chart for Holiday Side Dishes

Food / Side Dish How Much to Purchase Serving Size
Bread for Cornbread Stuffing or Dressing   16-35 cups dried bread cubes   1/2-3/4 cup   
Mashed, Au Gratin, Scalloped Potatoes    7-15 lbs raw potatoes  1/2 cup 
Candied Sweet Potatoes  8-16 lbs raw potatoes   1/2 cup 
 Macaroni and Cheese   2-4 lbs pasta; 2-4 lbs cheese       1 cup
Corn, peas, green beans, spinach, frozen     5-10 lbs    1/2 cup
Cauliflower, broccoli, fresh  8-16 lbs  1/2 cup 
Asparagus 9-18 lbs   3-4 spears
Cranberry Sauce/Relish  4-7 16oz cans 1/4 cup


This is actually an easy one. Allow at least 1 serving per person. If you are making the dessert, check serving size on the recipe and again, do the math.

If you purchase a pre-made dessert, check serving size. If you purchase from a bakery, the staff should be able to help you out.



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